by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
This week, Senate majority leader Charles Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that it may be “a good idea for President Biden to call a climate emergency.”
In other words, the leader of what is allegedly the world’s greatest deliberative lawmaking body — tasked with, among many other things, checking the power of the executive branch — is advocating that his ideological ally bypass Congress, declare a perpetual emergency that affects the entire economy, and rule by fiat.
Of course, anyone who believed Democrats were attempting to preserve “norms” or strengthen institutions, or that they were genuinely upset by the overreaches of Donald Trump rather than frustrated that they weren’t the ones wielding power, was just a sap.
In the Maddow interview, Schumer reasons that Trump had used the emergency powers “for a stupid wall, which wasn’t an emergency.” Indeed, I opposed Trump’s funding sections of the border wall. Yet securing the border — Schumer, incidentally, voted in favor of a barrier when it was politically expedient — is a tangible project, with a beginning and end, and a clear purpose. Schumer wants to activate special executive powers to fight a nebulous all-encompassing future “emergency” that entails control of entire sectors of the economy, all the while erasing the legislative choices of states and economic choices of individuals.
Practically speaking, the micromanaging of the economy under the diktats of a progressive “climate emergency” would be far closer to the definition of fascism than the ones casually thrown around by contemporary liberals. When Trump was president, The Atlantic summed up the legitimately scary reach of national emergency powers. …
… What emergency powers are not meant to do is give the executive branch a permanent boost because it can’t convince enough legislators to adopt its preferred policies.